Being Lonely

This blog post by Lysa T. has rumbled through my feeds and emails these past weeks.  At first, it was just the headline – “If you ever feel lonely, read this.”  That initiated a skim, but not a reading.  Then, it appeared in my Facebook posts…I read a little more and thought – wow, this is more than just your normal “you are lonely, trust in God” post.   Still, though, it took one more pop up in my email for me to sit and read.  And absorb.  The line that began the deep dive:

And the great thing about gathering with people you just know you’re going to bond with is that they will get you. Really get you … like on the level of having inside jokes that makes every conversation comfortable and delightful.  I couldn’t wait to be with these people…

I have been there – exactly at that point – and had the same type of thing happen – being so alone amidst the many who were supposed to KNOW you were feeling lonely and be your BFF, right?  And then later on in the story, she says:

I wasn’t just in this place (feeling rejected) at the dinner that night. I’ve been in whole seasons of my life where, though I had people around, I felt quite alone in my calling.

20141216_LysaBut then there is hope, and as usual it is all about perspective.  What if I view this time differently, as Lysa says?

There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call for her to be set apart.
Oh Lord – is that how you’d have me view those seasons?  I have been through those, been on the other side of those seasons, and I know there will be more ahead.  They are hard.  Lonely.  Full of doubt and questions of your calling and gifting – especially when it seems my unique gifts don’t fit in the normal box what those around me have (or so it seems).  But, Who created me?  Who made me with these giftings and gave me my calling?  Who made me unique and designed me from my mother’s womb?  And if it is the same Who who walks alongside me now, it makes little sense to doubt Him now.  Rather, wouldn’t it make more sense to lean into Him, trusting Him, asking for His comfort, as He is the great Comforter.
I’ll end with the wisdom that Lysa T shared in her blog on next steps when you are feeling this way.   Take the time to read her whole post – it is well worth it.  Thank you, Lysa, for sharing.

1. Look for the gift of being humbled.

Proverbs 11:2b reminds us that “with humility comes wisdom” (NIV). In this set apart place, God will give you special wisdom you’ll need for the assignment ahead.

2. Look for the gift of being lonely.

This will develop in you a deeper sense of compassion for your fellow travelers. You better believe when I walk into a conference now I look for someone sitting alone and make sure they know someone noticed them.

3. Look for the gift of silence.

Had I been surrounded by the voices of those people I was so eager to meet that night, I would have surely missed the voice of God. I’m trying to weave more silence into the rhythm of my life now so I can whisper, “God what might You want to say to me right now? I’m listening.”

I know it can be painful to be alone. And I know the thoughts of being set aside are loud and overwhelmingly tempting to believe in the hollows of feeling unnoticed and uninvited.

But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked.

There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call for her to be set apart.

Dear Lord, help me see the gifts hidden in this season of loneliness. I’m believing today that I’m set apart, not set aside. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:16a, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” (NLT)

– See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/if-you-ever-feel-lonely-read-this/#sthash.1oM2S0Ac.dpuf

Advertisements

20 years of cards

Back in 1997, I read an article in Martha Stewart Magazine about Christmas cards.  They had all sorts of ways to display the cards you receive.  One that I thought was fantastic was having a long wide ribbon display the cards of that year.  I began that year by going back to our first year of marriage/Christmas together – 1993 – and have done one ribbon every year since. That makes 20 ribbons to display this year.

It is so fun to look back on the cards and see how art has changed, designs have changed, and even to see signatures of folks who have since passed.  In the beginning I would have to choose the most important cards (i.e. family cards) versus the pretty ones.  These days, I seem to barely get enough cards that aren’t the photo cards!  Maybe one day I’ll acquiesce and add in photo cards.  But, for now, we are still doing it the old fashioned way!  (And the funny part – I can’t take a picture of all them anymore because they don’t fit on one wall!

DSC_0057
IMG_5275=

IMG_5301=IMG_5160

Noticing

I recently read an article entitled “Deepening Our Conversation with God.”  The article is an interview between Nouwen,  author of The Wounded Healer,  and Richard Foster, author of Prayer and Celebration of Discipline.  The article was a great read, a slow read, and a read that you re-read wanting to absorb it again.  For me, the following one sentence stood out from among the 4 pages of dialogue:

“One of the greatest expressions of love is simply to notice people and to pay attention to them.”

I think we have all had moments when we have felt this love by someone – they noticed our new haircut, or they complimented our outfit.  They told us they liked our smile, or they were thankful for our friendship.  Moments like this can’t be planned, scheduled, or added to the agenda.  They become a part of our day by someone noticing…taking the time to look around them and notice.

I am amazed at my own capacity to NOT notice things.  I stay so absorbed in my own little world, hardly peeking out to check out those around me.  It seems so easy to intentionally pay attention and intentionally notice.  But, I am surrounded by the constant noise of phones, music, children, questions, not to mention the own conversation with myself that is always swirling around in my head.

Today though, I will be intentional.  I will be ‘a noticer.’  Habits are created one day at a time, so let’s start with today.

The Cave

Do you ever have moments when you want to take your family, rush into the middle of no where and just settle. Away from the pressures of life. Away from the pressures of their peers. Away from bad decisions. Away from bad people. Away from busy-ness. Away from the many things that consume us that simply don’t matter. I call it my cave.

Often times when I hear bad news, or when I hear of struggles of friends or watch others make choices that are not wise, I start thinking of my cave. We’d be happy. We’d be self-sufficient. And, we’d have no influences but our own (again, this is MY cave, remember). Yet, what wouldn’t’ we have? Connection with the rest of our family. Connection with others to teach us and train us. Learning moments. And most importantly, we would not be the salt and light in the world.

“There is a reason why Jesus calls His disciples salt and light. We know that salt and light only make a difference when it makes contact. Salt can only preserve something that’s rotting when it makes contact with what it is that it’s rotting. You know, light can only shine in the darkness if it makes contact with the darkness. ”   Ed Stetzer

People……

People seem to cause me some of the greatest joys, and also some of the greatest heartaches – all within minutes of each other sometimes.

I have learned over the years to not be as sensitive as I used to be, but it is still quite hard. The smallest glance not given, the tone of voice said slightly skewed, the lack of respect can send me spiraling to the ‘people don’t care about me’ mood.

But, I’ve found that I do the same thing. I get consumed with a thought that I ignore an entire dialogue by my children. I can be thinking so intently of something that it consumes the way I behave, the way I smile, and the way I speak and yet it usually has nothing to do with any person I am around.

It all makes me wonder, then, how many people have I sent into heartache because of my carelessness and my intense focus on ME. Far too many, I am afraid.

When those moments come that I think ‘poor me’, I then stop. Take a step back and look outward, not inward. I look for gratitude, not greediness for my own ways. And, if that doesn’t work, I step away and spend some time with my Creator who can love me no more, and no less than He already does. He knows my thoughts before I think them, He knows my days, and He has a plan and a purpose for me. And in that, I will dwell.